T-Mobile 8820 and UMA Review

Review: T-Mobile 8820 & UMA
Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 7.0/10

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Size: 2.6 x 4.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 4.7 oz
Included battery: 1400 mAh Lion
Talk time: up to 5 hours
Standby time: up to 22 days
Band (frequency): 850 MHz; 900 MHz; 1800 MHz; 1900 MHz

The new offering from T-Mobile, the 8820, is much like the 8800 but Wi-Fi equipped. At first glance it looks exactly like the 8800 but with a slick “gun metal” blue finish. It also offers stereo Bluetooth which is an improvement over the 8800. The addition of Wi-Fi combined with GPS makes it one of the few units on the market offering both sought after features.

Testing the Wi-Fi revealed a very user friendly interface which makes it very easy to connect to most Wi-Fi hotspots. It also offers a variety of security protocols to choose from which makes it very flexible when connecting to either home or corporate Wi-Fi networks. Using profiles for different networks makes connecting to various Wi-Fi hotspots easy and automatic.

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Now that we have talked Wi-Fi let’s talk UMA (ooh-ma). No, not Uma Thurman but Unlicensed Mobile Access. In a nut shell UMA allows you to use voice over Wi-Fi and the Internet rather than over your carrier’s cellular network. Pretty slick…. This is the basis for T-Mobile’s Hotspot@Home offering. Combined with T-Mobile’s “Talk Forever” plan ($9.99 a month) it could offer substantial cost savings for those trying to conserve their cellular minutes. Basically anytime you are connected to a Wi-Fi network you have unlimited calling for that $9.99 a month if you add it to your plan. This is great not only for the general public but corporate customers as well. I have used the Hotspot@Home scenario for corporate users who don’t get a cellular signal at their homes. As long as they are connected via Wi-Fi they have a great signal for voice and data. It’s like having a cell tower in your house.

Call quality on UMA is usually pretty good. On the down side, transitioning from an UMA to EDGE connection, or vise versa, sometimes will drop the call. At times during transition, callers may be able to hear you but you can’t hear them. In general it can be a little buggy while jumping from one network to the other. T-Mobile does strongly suggest you use their router which is a Linksys with an UMA chip in it. They say it will be more reliable and give you better performance, but UMA will work with pretty much any Wi-Fi router. I will say setting up the T-Mobile router is a breeze, any layperson can do it. I have tested with both the T-Mobile router and my standard Linksys and I didn’t notice much of a difference. I’m sure T-Mobile will work out the bugs as time goes on.

Conclusion: Overall the T-Mobile 8820 and UMA are a nice offering. Not having a camera may cause some users to opt for the Curve. As a business tool in a corporate environment, I don’t think anything can beat it.

Steve Berghorn

2 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I can’t believe I’m actually drooling over this one. Someone slap me! I have the Curve 8320, which is totally awesome, but can admit some true GPS and a bit of a more hardy casing would be nice. I love the 8320’s camera, so don’t plan seriously to get the 8820 over the 8320, but still like I said, true GPS and a more solid casing would be great. My 8320’s casing is feeling looser these days, and too few apps have the MyLocation feature to locate you by tower. All GPS apps need this too.

    For any business user, I’d recommend the T-Mo 8820.

  2. I had much better luck when going from cellular to UMA or UMA to cellular when not using the TMobile supplied linksys router.Transiation times were quicker and never dropped a call when using my apple airport. The linksys was slow and sometimes required me to turn wi-fi off and back on on my curve to get connected. But YMMV.

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